By: Beau Boughamer
The Public Opinion in Chambersburg, Pa. carried an in-depth piece about a year’s worth of stimulus investments at Keystone Health Centers, quoting NACHC’s Craig Kennedy.
As layoffs grew and more families lost their insurance, Congress looked to community health centers like Keystone Rural Health Center in Chambersburg to provide a safety net.
That’s one reason why $2 billion of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was dedicated to community health centers, according to Craig Kennedy, associate vice president of federal and state affairs for the National Association of Community Health Centers.
“All three of these grants are wins for the community because ultimately it’s the community that is benefiting,” said CEO Joanne Cochran. “In the economy in which we’re living, it appears that many people who had insurance no longer have it, and we’ll always have the uninsured. It’s part of our mission. We really focus on providing services to the poor, under-served and needy populations.”
Keystone, which currently employs 338, said in the grant application the new building will directly result in 35 new full-time equivalent positions, to be hired with non-grant money. That is in addition to about 93 construction jobs.
The expansion and renovation of the dental and behavioral health services will also allow Keystone to hire two psychiatrists, a therapist and a support staff, a dentist, dental hygienist, and two dental support staff, also with non-grant money.
Last year, health centers saw more than 1 million new patients. About two-thirds were uninsured.
“There was a tremendous need as the economy was going south. When they were doing the stimulus, there were people that were newly in need. Those people that were being affected by the economy were showing up at health centers,” Kennedy said.